Katrin Kampmann (part I)
The first time I met her was at Concorde Colours – the blogging event held two months ago in honour of, well, us; bloggers from all over Berlin gathered at Concorde to toast the birth of the Fresh & French blog. Aside from the bright red lipstick and colourful scarf, Katrin Kampmann wore all black. I knew, before we even started talking, that she was not a blogger – more likely a designer or an artist.
What I didn’t know was that I had already seen some of her work. Lots of it, in fact. So have you, probably; her paintings, some 22 in total, can be found all over the hotel. This week I was lucky enough to be invited to her artist’s studio – or, as she describes it, her Brutkasten, her “incubator” – in Mitte, to see where the magic happens.
“It is fearsomely hot in my atelier,” she warns me as she fumbles with the key. The door swings open and before we have even crossed the threshold, the heat is upon us. I melt onto the sofa as Katrin, seemingly immune, goes to fetch water for me. Looking around at the floor, I realise she must have gotten used to the heat; it is multi-coloured, stained by what looks like years of drips and splashes. “Just two and a half years, actually,” she smiles.
Katrin tells me that the building, which is now home to creatives and a smallish theatre, the Theater Discounter, used to be the telephone exchange office for the GDR. Where once there were switchboards, now there are half-filled canvases covering three walls of her studio. Mixing pots and paintbrushes lie scattered at their base. The fourth wall is window, flooding the studio with light and offering a stunning panorama of the area around the historic Mühlendamm in Mitte.
She has just got back from Hamburg and the opening of her most recent exhibition Die Dinge des Lebens (“the things of life”). At just a couple of hours’ train journey away, this is one of Katrin’s more local exhibitions – her colourful artwork has been displayed all over the world, from New Zealand to Beverly Hills. Visit her website to find out more about upcoming exhibitions, or simply get lost clicking through her pictures.
“I’m so busy right now,” she tells me, “that I’m here most nights working late.” I wonder aloud whether heels and a smart black dress, nice though they are, are really the most practical clothes for painting. “Normally,” she laughs, “I wear overalls, but tonight, is my night off!” She’s going to watch her friend play piano. But first, she wants to show me something: the view from her roof…
…TO BE CONTINUED!